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Teens and alcohol

Alcopops. Ever hear of those? Not many people have heard of that term, but they are a drink that is growing in popularity among young people.

Alcopop, broken down, is “alcohol” and “pop” (as in soda pop). They are sweet alcoholic beverages that often is fizzy and has had fruit juice added to them. One can think of them as the adult version of orange soda or juice boxes you have with your lunch. Common alcopops include Mike’s Hard Lemonade, Bacardi Breezers, Smirnoff Ice, and even canned drinks that are made to look like regular soda cans or cans of energy drinks. Oregon Partnership is a prevention group that is worried about these beverages being out on the market.

Portland parents, what is the big deal with these alcopops? Answer: they are clearly marketed to underage drinkers even though they are not old enough to drink. The advertisements make it look cool to drink these products. The advertisements never show older adults partaking in the beverage. Usually, the products show young people at parties that look like they are having fun or model-thin young women who look like they are sophisticated because of the product.

Another big deal about alcopops is that teen drinking is at an all-time high with dire consequences. Check out these facts from The Center for Science in the Public Interest:

  • Alcohol is a factor in the four leading causes of death among persons ages 10 to 24: (1) motor-vehicle crashes, (2) unintentional injuries, (3) homicide, and (4) suicide
  • Young people who begin drinking before age 15 are four times more likely to develop alcohol dependence than those who begin drinking at age 21
  • Teens under 15 who have ever consumed alcohol are twice as likely to have sex as those who have not
  • Underage drinking costs Americans nearly $53 billion annually
  • Researchers estimate that alcohol use is implicated in one to two-thirds of sexual assault and acquaintance or “date” rape cases among teens and college students.
  • More than 10 million current drinkers in the United States are between the ages of 12-20. Of these young drinkers, 20% engage in binge drinking and 6% are heavy drinkers
  • Due to heavy or binge drinking, nearly one out of every five teenagers (16%) has experienced “black outs,” after which they could not remember what happened the previous evening

source: The Examiner

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